Healthy habits while working from home.
Here is a primer on healthy habits while working from home. Work from home (WFM) is likely to become the “new normal” in the post Corona world. Big office complexes, ID badges, shuttling to and from the “office” are likely to become things of the past. WFH will also usher in a new era of fewer cars on the road and less congested public transport. Are you geared up for the new normal? Are you eager to develop healthy habits while working from home? If so, read on.
Setting it up, During the initial days.
Implementing healthy habits while working from home may appear daunting at first. Every morning, think and act as if you are actually going to the office. The first of the many healthy habits while working from home to inculcate is to create a morning routine for yourself. Set your alarm to ring at the usual time, make yourself a cuppa, take a shower and change out of your pyjamas into some formal or semi formal clothes. All these will help you get into the “I’m going to work” mindset. Humans are usually creatures who love habits (good and bad!). Set yourself up by falling into a healthy morning routine.
Don’t set up your desk near the kitchen.
Proximity to the kitchen is an invitation to uncontrollable “snacking”. Avoid the temptation by setting up your desk as far away from the kitchen as possible. Preventing yourself from becoming a glutton is one of the most healthy habits while working from home to be remembered.
Eat healthy and snack healthy.
Start the day right with a protein rich breakfast. Eat at the dining table, never in front of your work table at home. Stay hydrated. Adequate hydration reduces headaches and fatigue which are common after long hours in front of a computer screen. Snack occasionally but always snack healthy! Healthy eating is one of the many healthy habits while working from home to practice. Make sure your B.M.I. doesn’t creep up above 24!
Take care of your eyes.
Spending long hours in front of a computer screen can adversely affect your eyes.
- Consciously blink.Religiously follow the 20-20-20 rule.
- Every 20 minutes, take your eyes off the screen for 20 seconds and look (focus) at an object at least 20 feet away. The easiest thing is to look outside a window every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds.
Blue light from many devices such as phones and tablets can be deleterious with prolonged exposure. It can disrupt sleep after prolonged exposure at night. If your device has a blue light filter, then turn it on and leave it on permanently. Also there is software (freely downloadable) which can adjust the colour of the computer monitor display depending on the time of the day. F-lux (available for free download at https://justgetflux.com/ ) is a good example of this software. Minimizing the exposure to blue light is one of the many healthy habits while working from home to be consciously nurtured.
Maintain a good posture in front of the computer.
Invest in a good chair if you’ve not done so already. Long hours in front of a computer screen in a bad posture is a sure shot recipe for hurting your back. Stand up, walk around and stretch every hour (or more frequently if possible). Make sure your keyboard, mouse, and screen are ergonomically appropriate and adequate for all your needs.
A large monitor is better than a standard sized monitor. A standard sized monitor is better than a laptop screen. A laptop screen is better than working from a mobile. The most unhealthy thing to do is to work for long hours through a mobile phone. Keeping your yoga mat near your work space is a very good idea. A good posture is one of the many important healthy habits while working from home to imbibe.
Avoid “cyber loafing” and social media.
While at work, make a conscious effort to stay stay away from yours, or your friend’s social media pages, news network pages, online shopping sites, netflix, amazon prime videos etc. All these reduce your focus and thus result in a loss of productivity. Healthy habits while working from home includes staying focused on your job!
Create a conducive work space.
If you have the luxury of a separate room and desk at home for use as your work station, sure, use it. Even if you don’t have the luxury of a separate room, set up a corner of a room and a desk exclusively for working from home preferably near a window. The designated space must not have any other distractions and being in that space must remind you only about work and nothing else.
Sitting at the designated desk must trigger you into the “work mode”. Setting up some soft music in the background may be useful. This may be difficult initially but with the passage of time, some discipline and practice, this can be easily achieved. Sitting near a window helps you to follow the 20-20-20 rule easily. Setting up a conducive work space is another one of the many important healthy habits while working from home.
Set up a task management system.
Its very important to have this to ensure that important work is prioritized and deadlines are met. This task management system may be as simple as having a notepad file open on your desktop page which is looked at every now and again to ensure that everything that needs to be done is done on time. It also could be just a simple sheet of paper that contains notes / musings / tasks or a list of work that needs to be completed ASAP. There are numerous online task management systems as well. Some form of a task management system is vital to stay productive while working from home.
Make exercise a part of your day.
Exercise is not synonymous with a gym visit. You tube is full of home fitness videos. Download a step counter app onto your mobile. If you are logging over 10,000 steps a day, chances are that you will be in good shape for the long haul. Make sure you achieve your target heart rate during exercise to keep your hear in good nick. Don’t forget that looking after your body is one of the most important of the healthy habits while working from homer to strive for.
Unplug on weekends.
Unplug completely on weekends. its one for the most important healthy habits while working from home to remember. Turn off the computer and the printer. Don’t open your work email unless there is an emergency. Get out of the house on weekends. Tank up on the sunshine. Visit friends and colleagues while maintaining strict social distancing protocols.
Make sure you are visible.
Even though you are working remotely and are physically invisible, make sure you are “e-visible”. Call, video chat, conference call, email and send SMS your colleagues regularly so that your “e-presence” is felt.
Schedule breaks for yourself.
Give yourself breaks at prefixed times whenever possible. Make sure you spend the “break time” away from the computer screen, not in front of it on social media! Going for short walks to another room or another part of the house is refreshing and rejuvenating. Get your self some sunlight when possible. It gives you a lot of free Vitamin D as well! Getting enough sunlight and fresh air are two important healthy habits while working from home to consciously inculcate.
Find your most productive hours and work only at that time.
Not everybody is most productive at the same timings during the day. A 9am to 5pm formal office does not recognize this. Some folk are most productive early in the morning, some late at night. Working from home allows you to schedule your work at the time you are most productive. This is probably one of the greatest advantages of working from home, but remember to inculcate healthy habits while working from home to enjoy these advantages to the fullest.
Unhealthy habits while working from home.
Switching on the laptop as soon as you wake up:
One of the most common habits while working from home is to turn on the laptop first thing in the morning. You are thus waking up to your work, instead of to the morning itself. It is unhealthy to begin your day like this. It probably also means that you fell asleep thinking about your work. which is unhealthy too. Give yourself some time to switch yourself on, before switching on to your work! This one of the most important healthy habits while working from home to remember.
Working mostly in bed:
Working in bed usually implies a bad posture and a bed that is unmade / unkempt the whole day. Few other things in a room a more irritating than an unmade bed. Working in bed also usually means a bad posture and poor sleeping habits. Good sleep hygiene is one of the many good habits while working from home to remember.
Never shutting down:
Never shutting down means you are always anxious about your work. This anxiety can have very deleterious implications in the long term.
The fear of missing out (FOMO) can be taxing on the mind.
Do not smoke. You are more prone to COVID 19 if you do! Looking after your lungs is one of the many important healthy habits while working from home.
The expanded 20-20-20 rule.
The classical 20-20-20 rule for protecting your eyes while at work on yor computer for long hours has been alluded to above. The expanded 20-20-20 rule consists of the above plus walking 20 paces every 20 minutes, blinking 20 times every 20 minutes and taking 20 deep breaths every 20 minutes to keep you in good mental and physical shapes during those long grinding hours of work on your computer.
Lastly – stay positive.
Working from home make make you feel a little lonely. Without a senior colleague or manager breathing down your neck, its easy to feel cocooned in your own little world. Feedback or a recognition for a job well done may not be as evident as it could be in an office environment. Your contributions may also be a little less “visible” than in a formal office environment. Deadlines and targets however usually remain the same. You are most likely to succeed if you’ve inculcated all the above healthy habits while working from home.
This combination may increase the level of frustration and stress despite being at home. Do not loose hope as some of the greatest stress busters known to man are available in close proximity at home – pets and family. Never underestimate the power of a few minutes spent with pets, or strolling in the garden or just talking to family to instantly de-stress and clear up a cluttered mind. These are all healthy habit while working from home to be nurtured.
Every job has ups and downs but its important to stay positive. Except in very few situations, the benefits of working from home far outweigh any shortcomings and disadvantages and inculcating healthy habits while working from home will always stand you in good stead along the journey.